What to Do With Old Footwear? This Teen Upcycles Them & Helps Thousands in Need

Bengaluru student Sia Godika started ‘Sole Warrior’ to collect old footwear from people, upcycle them, and donate them to the poor. To date, her volunteer-run NGO has collected over 15,000 pairs of footwear.

Seeing construction workers’ children running barefoot around her home in Koramangala, Bengaluru, pained Sia Godika. After noticing that their feet were hard and cracked, she ran home to see if she could find spare footwear to give to those kids.

That’s when she realised she had so much footwear that she didn’t even wear anymore. This realisation, coupled with some research and help from her parents and volunteers, led her to start ‘Sole Warriors’ in 2019 with the motto “donate a sole, save a soul”. 

The NGO collects used footwear from people, refurbishes them, and then donates them to the poor. “Finding a solution to a problem that affects a larger population is important, and that’s what I did with Sole Warriors,” Sia told the Global Indian.

From making her own posters to coordinating with multiple volunteers on WhatsApp groups, the teenager managed to collect around 500 pairs of footwear within a month. As word spread, more people reached out to donate, and many volunteers stepped up to help her in this mission.

After a successful run in Bengaluru, her mission has now spread to cities like Mumbai and Chennai. To date, ‘Sole Warriors’ has collected over 15,000 pairs of footwear, and the number is only growing.

Sia was awarded the Diana Award for her exceptional work and the Diana Legacy Award soon after. After this exposure, she is all set to expand her work to the US and West Africa.

She says, “If one helps the other, no one will have to work or go to school barefoot ever again.”

Watch the video to see Sia Godika in action:

Sources:
Diana Legacy Award-winner Sia Godika donated 21,000 pairs of shoes to the needy – Is a visionary to boot‘: by Global Indian, published on 10 January 2022.

(Edited by Divya Sethu)

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